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TTB NEWSLETTER | Weekly News

January 6, 2017


IN THIS ISSUE

This week's top news includes temporary and proposed TTB regulations implementing recent changes to the bond requirements and tax return filing periods for certain alcohol industry members, FDA revised guidance on food facility registration, and an FDA announcement extending the comment period on their rulemaking on using the term "natural" on food labels, as well as a list of the past week's top Pay.gov/ pages at TTB.gov/.


TTB PUBLISHES TEMPORARY REGULATIONS IMPLEMENTING CHANGES TO CERTAIN BOND REQUIREMENTS AND TAX RETURN FILING PERIODS; COMMENTS REQUESTED VIA NOTICE

On January 4, 2017, we published in the Federal Register a temporary rule, T.D. TTB–146, that amended our regulations related to alcohol excise taxes. The temporary rule implements changes to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (IRC) made by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act). The amendments implement a new annual return period for taxpayers paying taxes imposed with respect to distilled spirits, wines, and beer, who reasonably expect to be liable for not more than $1,000 in such taxes imposed for the calendar year and who were liable for not more than $1,000 in such taxes in the preceding calendar year.

The temporary rule also amends the regulations to remove bond requirements for taxpayers who reasonably expect to be liable for not more than $50,000 in taxes imposed on distilled spirits, wine, and beer for the calendar year, who were liable for not more than $50,000 in such taxes in the preceding calendar year, and who pay taxes on a semi-monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. Such taxpayers are exempt from bond requirements with respect to distilled spirits and wine only to the extent those products are for nonindustrial use.

Taxpayers with multiple locations must combine their tax liability for all locations with respect to distilled spirits, wine, or beer to determine their eligibility to use the annual return period and be exempt from the bond requirements.

These statutory changes became effective January 1, 2017, and the temporary rule was effective upon publication.

We are soliciting comments on the changes outlined in the temporary rule through a notice of proposed rulemaking, Notice No. 167, that was also published on January 4, 2017. At Regulations.gov/, within Docket No. TTB–2016–0013, you may view copies of T.D. TTB–146 and Notice No. 167, and any comments about the proposal. You may also submit comments online about the proposal through Regulations.gov/, or through alternate means outlined in Notice No. 167. Comments on Notice No. 167 must be received by March 6, 2017.

As previously announced, to help alcohol excise taxpayers and applicants for permits and brewers' notices understand these changes and how we are implementing them, we issued an Industry Circular on December 30, 2016. Industry Circular 2016–2 provides an overview of the changes, describes how new applicants for permits and brewers' notices and existing proprietors can communicate their eligibility for the bond exemption, and describes the use of the annual return period.

FDA ISSUES DRAFT GUIDANCE FOR INDUSTRY: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS REGARDING FOOD FACILITY REGISTRATION (SEVENTH EDITION) - REVISED

If you are the owner, operator, or agent in charge of either a domestic or foreign facility that is engaged in manufacturing/processing, packing, or holding of food (including alcohol beverages) for consumption in the United States, you must register with FDA, unless you are exempt under 21 CFR 1.226. You must register your facility whether or not the food from the facility enters interstate commerce.

Source: Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 248 / Tuesday, December 27, 2016 / Proposed Rules

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing the availability of a revised draft guidance for industry entitled "Questions and Answers Regarding Food Facility Registration (Seventh Edition): Guidance for Industry."  The revised draft guidance supersedes the version of the food facility registration draft guidance that was announced on November 8, 2016. When finalized, this guidance is intended to provide updated information relating to the food facility registration requirements in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act).

Although you can comment on any guidance at any time (see 21 CFR 10.115(g)(5)), to ensure that your comment on the revised draft guidance is considered before FDA begins work on the final version of the guidance, submit either electronic or written comments on the revised draft guidance by March 27, 2017.

Resources

FDA TO REDEFINE "HEALTHY" CLAIM FOR FOOD

Certain alcohol beverages that are not subject to the labeling provisions of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act, for example wine/cider with less than 7 percent alcohol by volume and beers that do not contain malted barley and hops, are generally subject to the food labeling requirements under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Source: FDA Constituent Update dated December 29, 2016

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is extending the comment period on the use of the term "healthy" in the labeling of food products to April 26, 2017, in response to requests for additional time to submit comments. The initial comment period ends January 26, 2017. The FDA also intends to hold a public meeting to facilitate further dialogue on this topic.

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